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Thursday, May 25, 2017

If you can afford the renovations, Italy will give you a castle

For all you Fixer Upper types out there:

Old houses, inns, farmhouses, monasteries and ancient castles are all up for grabs - and you won’t have to pay a penny. In total, 103 sites are available, dotted across the country from north to south.

One of the castles up for grabs. Photo: Agenzia del Demanio

The only catch is that those who take up the offer will have to commit to restoring and transforming the sites into tourist facilities, such as hotels, restaurants, or spas. Successful applicants will get an initial nine-year period to work on their project, with the possibility of extending it for a further nine years.

The buildings are all located off the beaten path, with 44 of the sites situated along historic or religious walking routes, and the remaining 59 along cycle paths.

They can be found along the Appian Way (a Roman road connecting the capital with Brindisi on the southern coast), the Via Francigena (an ancient pilgrimage route stretching from Rome to the northern border), and several of Italy’s cycling routes.

Former school in Puglia

Interested entrepreneurs willing to take on an ancient fixer-upper can browse the list of properties, and submit an application. More at The Local.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

The End of a Long Controversy Over a Striped Townhouse

Not your usual HOA spat - this townhouse in London is valued at 15 million UK pounds - approximately $19.3 million dollars. It's interesting to realize that property restrictions in the U.S. (in places with restrictive HOAs) are much more draconian than they are in the U.K.

A woman who angered her neighbors by decorating her multimillion-pound townhouse with red and white stripes can ignore a planning order to repaint the property, the high court has ruled.

Zipporah Lisle-Mainwaring, a property developer, painted candy stripes on the three-storey facade of the terrace home in South End, Kensington, west London, in March 2015.

She has denied that the paint job was done to spite neighbors who objected to her plans to demolish the property, currently used for storage, and replace it with a new home.

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea served her with a notice under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, requiring her to repaint “all external paintwork located on the front elevation white” within 28 days.

Mr Justice Gilbart, who said the painting of the house had been “entirely lawful”, posed the question: “Is it proper to use a section 215 notice where the complaint is not lack of maintenance or repair, but of aesthetics?”

He ruled that using section 215 “to deal with questions of aesthetics, as opposed to disrepair or dilapidation, falls outside the intention and spirit of the planning code”.

Gilbart said he noted the crown court’s finding that Lisle-Mainwaring “painted the house in stripes as a matter or pique”. He added: “She may well have done, but section 215 does not entitle one to address the motive of a landowner. 

More at the Guardian